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Internet activists detained in Alexandria, no explanation given for arrests

(ANHRI/IFEX) - According to ANHRI's information, on 23 July 2008, security officers arrested a number of young Internet activists, who form part of the "6th of April Youth" group. The youths were arrested during a trip to Alexandria and are being held in a State Security detention centre, known as the "Pharaohs' Quarters". On 24 July, Ahmed Maher, a member of the group, was detained by police officers while walking in the Alrramal station of Alexandria. Both incidents indicate that security agencies are targeting the young men and women who form the "6th of April Youth" group.

The group organised a trip to Alexandria on 23 July, the day of an official holiday commemorating the July 1952 revolution. The youth were roaming around the Corniche, a walkway along the Alexandria harbour, singing national songs. They were arrested, put in a number of cars and taken to the State Security headquarters. They have not appeared before the prosecution, nor have they been accused of any crime.

In a phone call, group member Mahenor Al Masri said that "the officers beat [the youth] in the 'Pharaohs' Quarters', and seized the list of participants on the trip, which numbered 50 young men and women".

On 24 July, at approximately 1:00 p.m. (local time), Ahmed Maher was walking in Alrramal station when he was surprised to see a large number of police officers approaching him. He was detained and taken to an unidentified location, believed to be part of the "Pharaohs' Quarters".

ANHRI tried to contact the young men arrested on 23 July and Ahmed Maher, but their mobile phones were turned off. This raises concerns about the activists' safety, particularly given the fact that torture is known to be practiced at the "Pharaohs' Quarters".

As of 24 July, none of the Internet activists had been released or brought before the prosecution to face charges. In addition, the security agencies have not given any reasons for detaining them.

ANHRI strongly condemns the arrest of the activists, and their illegal detention, and calls on the Interior Ministry to bear full responsibility for their safety. The organisation calls for the activists' immediate release or, at the very least, a court appearance and an announcement of the reasons for their arrest.

The detained activists are: Khalid Adil, Mahenor Al Masri, Yousuf Sha'ban, Basim Fathi, Mustafa Mahir, Nur Al Din Subhi, Medhat Shakir, Mutasim Bellah Mohamed, Tarig Tito, Mohamed Mahmoud, Ahmed Nassar, Ahmed Afifi and Ahmed Maher. One more individual was detained but his name is not known.

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